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12-29-2011, 09:09 AM   #1
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Pentax SMC-M 50mm f1.4 lens barrel wobble

I have an excellent condition Pentax SMC-M version 50mm f1.4. The focus ring and the lens group show some degree of play, feel like wear out focus helical thread. Is this common problem for this lens? It feel like the parts quality is poorly made, I have see this kind of problem in Nikon AI/AIS lens the old Tamaron SP is superior, too

12-29-2011, 10:02 AM   #2
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I've got an M 50mm 1.7 (I know I know, not the same lens), that is rock solid and is as high of quality feel as any lens I've touched. I doubt you've got a representative example.

Granted, i've only been using D/SLR cameras for 6 months, but LBA has had my hands on enough glass to believe that what you're describing isn't normal for a pentax M series lens.
12-29-2011, 11:03 AM   #3
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Production for the M50/1.4 stopped in 1984, so the lens is at least 27 years old. It's 5 or 6 generations old.

I haven't ever seen an M series lens that has a worn out focus helix. Some loose screws could cause the problems you've had.
12-29-2011, 11:56 AM   #4
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My a50mm f1.4 wobbles a little and it is about 27 years old (we go way back) but it still does a nice job. I can't remember how tight it was when it was new though.

12-29-2011, 02:10 PM   #5
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If the front element group 'wobbles' a little bit it is unlikely to noticeably affect the image quality - I guess it would behave like a mini shift-lens. If the rear assembly was wobbling then that's a different matter as the lens and film/sensor plane would be out of registration. My A50 F/1.4 has a wobbling barrel too and from what I've read on here that's normal for (at least) that particular lens. My 31LTD has a wobbling front element assembly but the rear group is fine. If the image is pin sharp then I wouldn't worry all that much if I were you.
12-29-2011, 02:19 PM   #6
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My Nikon new or old never have this problem. I think the focus helical thread has tolerance larger than other lens makers
12-29-2011, 02:29 PM   #7
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It's unlikely the threads are worn. Perhaps the front or rear lens group which can be tightened, is loose. M lenses should be rock solid.
12-29-2011, 10:37 PM   #8
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If you take out the front name plate ring, you will see 3 JIS screws. I have come across a few Takumars or M lens where the three screws are lose and give the impression that the barrel is wobling.

12-30-2011, 10:22 AM   #9
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I partially disassembled this lens I believe the wobble is the focus helical parts have play. The lens does not show lots of wear on the outside.
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